Back in December 2010, my brother in-laws read my blog and saw that I wanted a solar oven for Christmas and they ordered me one. It took several months to come in and once it did arrive I was pretty pregnant so I did not open the box to put it together.
Life, baby, and winter got in the way and finally on Mother’s Day my husband took it out and we realized there was no assembly required. I promptly popped in the CD with the directions to make sure I set it up right…etc. Basically there are no directions, put it in the sun, close the glass top and put the mirrored top at the correct angle to heat up the oven. When you want to put your food in the preheated oven you will need to use a potholder to open the glass. It works on a kickstand method so you need to touch hot parts to move the glass up and down.
So after I looked at everything on the CD, I did the next logical thing I whipped up some brownie mix and popped it in the oven. I think I mentioned it was Mother’s Day. The oven seemed to get to about 250-300 degrees according to the thermometer that it came with. It took longer to bake the brownies than normal but they came out perfect. The documents I read stated that there is no way to burn your food but I am not totally sold on that, check back in August?!
My next experiment was a few days later roasting cut up butternut squash. The oven got to about 250 with one dip when I was not paying attention to the shade. It took about 3 hours but they came out perfect and were starting to get a little crust on the edge.
Cooking late in the day in spring in the northeast does not yield the best results for baking large sweet potatoes. This statement is really just as obvious as it sounds. The solar oven is not exactly the same as your regular oven. It needs more time to pre-heat and does not get as hot as your oven… Though I am not convinced that this statement may change as I get better at using it.
My final test was another batch of brownies for a barbecue and they turned out just as wonderful as the first batch.
My solar oven is Tulsi oven that can be plugged in to supplement the heat if needed (I have never used this function but it is nice to have). It came with the oven that folds up nicely, thermometer, four containers to cook the food in, an oven mitt and a cd with recipes and directions.
I really recommend getting a solar oven, they cost between $150-$300 and can be very helpful in keeping energy costs down (not using the oven and not heating your house up in the summer) and it also has the added benefit of being a tool you can keep in your emergency preparedness plan too.
Tulsi, the company that makes my solar oven and whatever website my brother in-laws purchased it from and anyone else associated with this oven have never met me and have no idea I even wrote this.
The pictures are clearly mine… it is pretty hard to take a picture of solar oven actually with the mirrors…etc.
Here is a great review of my solar oven from an expert who has used others